Google labs have recently released a terrific new tool called Google Body that does for human anatomical charts what Google Earth did for wall maps. Well, not quite, but they could easily get there. Don’t rush to the site, however, unless you are prepared to install one of the new HTML5/WebGL browsers: Firefox 4 beta or Chrome 9 beta [NOTE: The day I posted this article Chrome 9 came out of beta, so you will find the Chrome 9 production product at this link]. If you have a reasonably robust computer and a good graphics card I recommend you try it, just for the fun of using Google Body.
Google body show a human model (a female) with a Google Earth system of zoom and navigation that can give you close up views of very detailed anatomical structures. You can peel back anatomical system, itegumentary, musculature, skeletal, organs, circulatory,nerves in an ingenious system that allows control of opacity for each system. Watch the video below to see it illustrated.
Although I think this is a terrific system,I have a few suggestions for improvements:
- Add the lymphatic system.
- Add selectable sub-sections, like reproductive, endocrine, respiratory, etc.
- Add a MALE model to make display of reproductive anatomy meaningful.
- Lose the clothes on the femal model’s integument. Come on. This is the 21st century. Why does an anatomical model have clothes???
- Add 3rd-party layer add-ins as in Google Earth, so that scientific providers could add their own layers of data.
- Add pathology tie-ins, so that we could view possible pathologies to structures.
- Add developmental models with a time-slider, so that we could see fetal or gerontological developments.
- Add x-ray, MRI, and ultrasound slices.
- Add a metric system so we could measure structures and the distance between them.
- Add scroll-wheel tilting as with Google Earth.
- Add a system that would allow for more or less detailed labeling.
Enough suggestions? I’m sure the Google geniuses have thought of all of these, and many more, but as with all lab projects it needs an ongoing commitment by the company and a surge in public interest to bring it to production.
I sincerely hope that happens because this is a system whose time has come. Gone at long last gone can be those charts that have decorated classroom walls since the 19th century. Here will be the command of detailed information and learning potential that technology can at long last provide.
Here is the video. It’s a bit long, but its a big topic: